The Daily Southerner
ROCKY MOUNT —
The monthly Flag Raising ceremonies at the Edgecombe County Veterans Memorial have been postponed until the first Monday in March. Citing the weather conditions, the postponement was an organizational change made by the event planner, the Golden K Kiwanis.
"It is too cold during that time, therefore we chose not to have the flag raising from December to February," said Donald Morris, the Golden K member in charge of the ceremony. "It worked out just fine. After the last one we had, no one had signed up for December. Therefore, when we chose to postpone them until March, we didn't have a problem. Since then, we have several families sign up.
As of Tuesday, ceremonies are scheduled from March through August. The families of Horace Ward and Paul Shirley, both of whom recently passed away, are two of the scheduled ceremonies. Both were prominent citizens in Edgecombe County.
The flag-raising services are held on the first Monday of every month at the Veterans Memorial in the Town Common to honor deceased Edgecombe County veterans. The services include lowering the American flag of the veteran honored the previous month and raising the flag of the veteran who is being honored. Cadets from Tarboro High School's Junior ROTC program handle the flag-raising chores.
Military memorabilia from the deceased is placed on display for the month in the Edgecombe County Veterans Museum at 106 W. Church St.
The last ceremony was in November in honor of U.S. Army Spc. 4 Thomas R. Bradley.
The monument, the Edgecombe County Veterans Memorial, was erected in November 2002 in honor of all Edgecombe County veterans. Hundreds of people attended the event, including Speed native Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. An engraved plaque in honor of Shelton is at the base of the granite monument.
Since the inaugural event, 114 veterans have been honored.
Hugh Elroy "Butch" Best was the first to be honored during the monthly services. Best was killed in action in Vietnam at the age of 21. Several others who were killed in action were also among the 114, including Blake Williams, who was killed in action in 2008 in Iraq. Williams was honored in November 2010 and marked the 97th memorial.
The idea of the monthly memorial was the brainchild of World War II Marine veterans Joel Bourne and the late Col. J.W. Woods.
"When we first started, we had families that had signed up from eight to nine months in advance," Morris said. "We don't have quite that many recently but it looks like its getting to be that way again. It's still a popular ceremony."
Families who would like to honor their deceased veterans can call Morris at 823-2206.